The Health Benefits of Showing Gratitude

gratitudeI really don’t think there’s another practice that’s benefited my mental health more than making sure to practice gratitude every single day.

Even on days when everything seems to go wrong (there’s heavy traffic, parking is impossible to find, someone is rude to you), I am a firm believer that there is still plenty to be thankful for, and that you can always find something to acknowledge in your life that is going well. As it turns out, this practice is not only good for your mental health, but it can improve many physical aspects of your health as well! I was super grateful (see what I did there?) to come across an article by Care 2 that discusses the link between good physical health and regular admissions and acknowledgment of gratitude. Here’s what I learned.

One of the coolest and most surprising ways that gratitude can impact your health is that, according to the research that is cited in this article, being grateful can actually reduce your risk of having a fatal heart attack. This is apparently because people who are more actively grateful in life experience less stress, and therefore, less inflammation in the body, especially in the muscles and soft tissues that surround the heart.

Since regularly practicing gratitude can also improve sleep habits and overall mood in general, the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks really does decrease exponentially. What else can gratitude do for you? For starters, it can improve your relationships with other people. Since practicing being grateful tends to reduce feelings of hostility and aggression, you are left with a much more agreeable personality that people will definitely be draw to. Your interpersonal relationships will be less defined by fights and disagreements, since your partner, friend, or other loved one will feel more appreciated as a result of your regular assurances of gratitude.

Optimism in general can actually motivate you to live a healthier lifestyle. Pollyanna was onto something, because being grateful for even the little things in life can make it easier to hit the gym, cook healthy meals, or even help out a person in need. If you want to start reaping the benefits of this lifestyle, try simply keeping a gratitude journal in which you list at least three good things that happened to you every day. You can always look back on these entries when you’re feeling low as a reminder of how great life can get.

Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of The National Guard

This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.